Gingrich: GOP must defeat Obama's 'secular, socialist' values

The former House Speaker, like many of the event's participants, honed in on social issues and religion Monday, tailoring his remarks to a crowd packed with social conservative activists. 

Gingrich repeatedly pointed to the language in the Constitution as decidedly non-secular, telling the crowd, "It means the power comes from God to each one of you personally."

"That is the fundamental division between most Americans and the secular, socialist people around Obama and the degree to which they do not understand America, cannot possibly represent America and cannot lead us to a successful future," said Gingrich.  

Gingrich, who late last week in Georgia said he was taking additional steps in the direction of a 2012 presidential campaign, told the crowd Monday that he's still "in the process of exploring" a presidential bid next year and called for Republican unity as a wide open race for the GOP nomination is about to get underway. 

"We're all going to have to be on the same team after this is over," Gingrich said. "It's going to take all of us to defeat the left."

Gingrich was joined by former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and talk radio host Herman Cain at the forum.

Pawlenty called the nation's skyrocketing debt "immoral" and emphasized his opposition to abortion and gay marriage. The Constitution, Pawlenty said, was "designed to protect people of faith from government, not to protect government from people of faith." 

Santorum was the most forceful Monday when it came to his record on social issues. The former senator spent the vast majority of his remarks on the issue of abortion alone, reminding the crowd of his efforts in Congress to pass a ban on partial birth abortion. 

Santorum again criticized Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels's notion of a "truce" on social issues, telling the crowd he, more than most others, "have been out fighting the wars on these moral issues."